The inevitable course of confrontation between the U.S. and Iran

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February 8, 2007 The inevitable course of confrontation between the U.S. and Iran

Globe Editorial - by Khalid Khayati 

As security becomes the most important concern for the new American strategy in Iraq, the U.S. intensifies its pressure on Iran at an increasing pace.

Washington has recently issued new warnings to Iran and urged this country to stop giving assistance to insurgents and attacking American troops in Iraq. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said U.S. forces had detained several Iranians suspected of providing weapons technology to Shiite belligerents. According to Burns, Iran's assistance to insurgents spreads from Basra on north, and has already led to several casualties among U.K. and U.S. forces in Baghdad. The uncompromising tone that President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials use toward Iran on a daily basis may not be seen as pure political rhetoric. Washington's tougher confrontational attitude has already been displayed through a range of practical steps aimed at putting further pressure on the Islamic regime in Tehran. 

Those steps taken by the U.S. to mark its power of action against the Iranian regime include the U.S. military raid on the Iranian government office in Erbil, which resulted in the capture of six Iranian officials who were accused of being high-ranking members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq to support insurgents; the pressure on the pro-Iranian Shiite Mehdi Army to abandon its armed struggle; and the round trip of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to convince the Arab World to take an anti-Iranian position. American charges against Iran are divided into two main concerns. The first concern is the Islamic regime's alleged activities in Iraq and Lebanon, and the second is about its intention to produce nuclear weapons. It is important to call into mind the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council on December 23, 2006, which bans the supply of nuclear-related technology and materials to Iran and imposes an asset freeze on key individuals and companies, making it harder for the Islamic regime to match the U.S. in the current course of confrontation. Analysts say the Iranian oil exports may also dwindle with UN sanctions. 

On the Iranian side, the Islamic leaders continue to voice defiance vis-à-vis mounting American menaces. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed the Security Council resolution as "born dead." Once again, he reminded everyone that Iran's effort to enrich uranium is "an expression of its right to develop nuclear power under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of which it is a member." The Iranian daily Keyhan has underlined the power of reaction of the Iranian military forces and said that as for internal stability, "Iran is so powerful that it can respond to any foreign threats and defend itself." 

The prevailing situation raises a question about how far this line of confrontation will go. Will the involved parties find the proper political and diplomatic means to solve the problems or remain at their intransigent positions and subsequently opt for a military confrontation? Finding an immediate answer to this question is quite impossible. In any case, the statue quo in this gloomy region is not going to hold in the long term. Apparently, something must happen, because in the wider Middle East political constellations there are voices that say tensions are building and ground is being prepared for a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran. 

As for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), it should become aware of the double standard, destructive politics that the Islamic regime of Iran practices vis-à-vis Iraqi Kurdistan and its political achievements. Even if breaking political and economic relations with the Islamic regime of Iran is not on the political agenda of the Kurdish leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan, they should see to it that the classic patron-client relationship with Iran is abandoned and reorganized in a modern manner that is conformable to a modern political state such as KRG. As for the political organizations of the Iranian Kurds, it is vital to observe and analyze the new political outlook and see to it that structural reforms are realized and democratization processes are fastened. In the new order of things, there is no point of return. The best option is to move forward. 

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